Appeal for Borderers to think before they bin this Christmas and beyond as analysis shows huge volume of general waste could be recycled

Published: 13th December 2022

A study of the waste habits of Borderers has revealed that over three quarters of items placed in household general waste could be recycled.

Findings of the anlysis 

The waste composition analysis found that on average: 

  • 19% of material placed in general waste bins could have been recycled at the kerbside in blue recycling bins
  • 25% of items could have been recycled at any of the seven Community Recycling Centres, and 
  • 32% of the general waste bin was food waste that could have been recycled in the kerbside food caddy collections (where this is provided). 

Campaign to encourage increased recycling over Christmas and beyond 

In light of this, households across the region are being encouraged to be more aware of their behaviours to increase recycling levels and reduce the amount of recyclable waste going into general waste bins. 

The Christmas and New Year period is the perfect opportunity to start as households generally become filled with easy to recycle items such as wrapping paper, packaging, empty glass bottles and Christmas trees. 

Useful resources to help you recycle more 

More information on what you can recycle and what goes in which bin can be found on the SBC website.

Alternatively you can make use of Zero Waste Scotland’s online Scottish Local Authority Recycling Sorter, which lets residents know what items can be recycled, and in which bin, anywhere in Scotland.

Results of the survey 

Some of the findings from the 2,603 survey responses received were:

  • 27% said they had thrown recyclable items into their general waste bin within the previous three months because their recycling bin was full

o Did you know that you can present excess recycling in bags (except black bags) at the side of your recycling bin and it will be collected?

  • 16% said they weren’t sure what can be recycled

o To make sure you are doing the right thing, check what goes in which bin on SBC’s website or Zero Waste Scotland’s Recycling Sorter.

  • 57% said in the three months prior they had thrown uneaten food or food still packaged into the general waste bin

o Kerbside food waste collections are currently provided in Hawick, Galashiels, Tweedbank, Selkirk, Jedburgh and Peebles; if you live in one of these areas please do your part and recycle food where you can.

  • Almost 20% of respondents said they disposed of glass jars or bottles in their general waste bin

o There are nearly 50 bottle bank locations across the Scottish Borders where glass can be recycled 

  • 23% said in the three months previous they had thrown recyclable items into their general waste because of the time it would take to rinse them.

The full results of the survey can be found on the Council’s consultation hub.

Changes to festive collections

Please also be aware of the changes to waste & recycling collections over the Christmas and New Year bank holidays. Further information on rearrangements will made available this month on the SBC website and social media channels. 

The household waste collection postcode look-up facility will also be updated the week before Christmas to show any changes to domestic collections.

Councillor Jenny Linehan, Executive Member for Environment and Transport:

“This study of what is put into household waste bins by Borderers is very revealing, and shows just how much we can all be doing to make sure we maximise the amount of items being recycled.

“Please think before you bin – all it takes is a couple of seconds to make sure items go into the right bin, or are set aside to be taken to one of our seven Community Recycling Centres the next time you are passing.

“Our recycling rate has grown significantly in recent years thanks to developments in waste treatment processes, but we now urgently need every Borderer to take some really simple steps to help increase that further. Recycling saves energy, it saves raw materials, it saves pollution and helps contribute to slowing climate change.

“Our current recycling rate is almost 53 per cent, but our aim is to reach the aspirational national target of 70 per cent by 2025, and we can all play our part in making the Scottish Borders the best recyclers in Scotland.”